Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Brief Hiatus


Hi everybody – for the next couple of weeks there will be a brief hiatus in activity on the blog – just whilst I’m blogging as Digital poet in residence at The Poetry School.  I’m really busy and struggling to keep up with everything – so something had to give!  I hope you will excuse the few weeks of silence – and please come and have a chat over at The Poetry School

Sunday Poem – Em Strang


Evening folks.  This is again, going to be a short post but you can find out more about what I’ve been getting up to if you head over to The Poetry School Campus.  You can find the transcript of a webchat discussion with Hannah Lowe, Amy Wack and Neil Astley here –

but if you would like to know more about what I’ve been getting up to on a day to day basis, have a look at Part 2 of my logbook which you can find here

I’ll be putting Part 3 of the logbook up in the next few days or so and there will be news of an online workshop I’ll be running as part of my residency as well – so do keep your eyes open!

Today’s Sunday Poem is by Em Strang who I met last weekend when I headed up to Lockerbie for a rehearsal.  Em is co-organiser of ‘Carrying the Fire’ festival which you can find more information about here.  Along with a violin player called Simon and Rachel Amey, another poet, we have put together a poetry performance exploring what ‘Re-wilding’ means.  There are still a few tickets left for the festival – as well as us, there will be music, storytelling, lectures, all sorts going on and obviously a bonfire.  It would be lovely to see some of you there!  If you would like more information about the festival have a look at the website which is

I was really impressed with Em’s poetry last weekend.  It lifted me out of a bit of a rut I was in – don’t know if you have ever got into a mood, when you have listened to too much bad poetry and it has finally got to you and you are left wondering whether you will ever love poetry again – too many bad open mics and poets who read for double the length of time they are supposed to etc etc.  Anyway, this wasn’t the poem I heard Em read – I hope she has bigger plans than this blog for that poem and I’m sure she will succeed – but Em was kind enough to send me some poems to choose from and I decided on this one.

I don’t often put poems in a particular form on this blog for some reason but I thought the form in this poem was so well handled.  I don’t think there is a line that really puts a foot wrong – I like the rhymes and their slippage into half rhymes – I love the title which just says so much without over explaining.  I love the little aside ‘(god it was insane)’ and the self realisation the poem is filled with – and the suprising ending, with the woman with small hands who walks into the poem and out again, like a cat walking into a room and ignoring everybody before leaving.

Em Strang also has a website and blog which is

You can find news about an upcoming workshop that she is running here which looks really interesting and still has a couple of places left.  Em has published work in New Writing Scotland, The Glasgow Herald,  Dark Mountain and Poetry Scotland amongst other places.  She has also recently been commended in the Wigtown Poetry Competition and the McLellan Poetry Prize.  She has a Phd in creative writing (ecological poetry) from the University of Glasgow.

I hope you enjoy the poem.

Sonnet Without Shouting – Em Strang

It’s true the door no longer fits the frame
and the windows are blown out.
Someone’s been in and torn both our names
out of the curtains, the bedclothes, even that stout
little dresser we bought in the driving rain
that day I suddenly knew it was my fault –
that if I hadn’t loved you so much (god it was insane)
you wouldn’t have left. No doubt
I learnt something valuable. Perhaps I finally overcame
the need to be near you, to decorate the house
with travel photographs and books, that quaint
framed poem you wrote one summer, the one about
the woman with small hands from Lastur in Spain,
who said the only way to make you listen was to shout.

Sunday Poem – Emily Blewitt


Evening folks.  The Sunday posts are going to be a bit shorter on here for the next month because as part of my role as Digital Poet in Residence I will be posting extracts from my logbook – which will also have diary type entries – so  a lot of what I would normally put here, is going up there next week sometime, if you get my meaning!  So this post will be brief but you can catch up on all my gossip over at The Poetry School

Next Wednesday the Poetry School are having a Digital Open Day and I’ll be taking part in a live webchat with Amy Wack from Seren, Neil Astley from Bloodaxe and Hannah Lowe, Bloodaxe poet extraordinaire about publishing a first collection, so if you have any questions you would like to ask, send them through to me and hopefully we will be able to fit them in.    There is also a chance to post your poems online from 7pm and get some instant(ish) feedback from 7pm if you join the CAMPUS group ‘Show Us Your Poems’…

Other things happening this week – the Wordsworth Trust summer reading series starts Tuesday May 6th with Fleur Adcock and local poet Neil Curry reading.  There is also an amazing workshop with Mimi Khalvati happening on the 24th May at the Wordsworth Trust – this is a rare opportunity to attend a workshop with an amazing poet and tutor – I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who has been to a Mimi Khalvati workshop and doesn’t sing her praises – they do need a minimum number to run the workshop so if you were thinking about it and haven’t got yourself in gear – get organised!  You can book online at

Today’s Sunday Poet is Emily Blewitt who is a lovely poet that I met a couple of weeks ago on the residential course at Grange Over Sands.  Emily is a fantastic writer who is based in Cardiff and she was writing some fantastic poems on the course.  I really liked this poem about a bear – as I’m writing, am wondering if I have a soft spot for bear poems that I didn’t know about, as this is the second bear poem that has been the Sunday Poem.  Anyway, I think this poem is very delicate – the way the lines step down one after the other and the poem manages to conjure up exactly what the bear looks like.  I like the bear that would ‘shrink to the shape of a sack’ – the bear is the active agent, it will shrink, it will emerge all ‘eyes and teeth’, it ‘snatches’ fish and then ‘carefully keeps her ears dry’ – lots of lovely description in the poem.

Emily Blewitt was born in Carmarthen in 1986.  She has published poetry in Cheval (Parthian: 2012, 2013), Nu2: Memorable Firsts (Parthian: 2011), and in Brittle Star (2011). Her poetry appears online in Pomegranate, Cadaverine, Bolts of Silk and The Guardian poetry workshop. Emily won the 2010 Cadaverine/Unity Day Competition with her poem ‘Still Life’, and was selected as Honno’s ‘Poet of the Month’ in September 2012. She has also appeared on BBC Radio 4′s ‘Lost Voices’ programme to discuss the work of Anne Ridler. She is studying for a PhD in English Literature at Cardiff University.  Her blog can be found at

I hope you enjoy the poem!

Giving – Emily Blewitt


I give you, this:
cold, hard earth;
the bear beneath

who would shrink to the shape of a sack
to let one cub breathe
in winter,

and, come thaw, emerge
all eyes and teeth,
head for water.

There: watch her
snatch from the air
a fish, mid-leap.

See how carefully
she keeps her ears dry.